A federal judge took Roger Stone to task Tuesday for his delay in notifying her about a book introduction he wrote bashing the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe — an introduction that appeared to be at odds with a gag order the judge had imposed in his case.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone’s request that she clarify that his work on the re-release of the the book — which republished last month under a new title, “The Myth of Russian Collusion” — did not constitute a violation of the gag order. She also suggested that his request, first filed under seal last week, may have been a gambit to gin up publicity about the book.
“In either event, there is no question that the order prohibited and continues to prohibit the defendant from making any public statements, using any medium, concerning the investigation,” the judge said in Tuesday’s order. “It does not matter when the defendant may have first formulated the opinions expressed, or when he first put them into words: he may no longer share his views on these particular subjects with the world.”
The judge had banned Stone from commenting publicly about the case and its participants at a Feb. 21 hearing, after he had posted on Instagram an ominous photo her, with a crosshairs in its background, that was accompanied by an inflammatory caption.
She had, earlier that month, asked him to filing briefing papers on the potential for a gag order. At neither the Feb. 21 hearing on the Instagram post nor in the earlier court filings did Stone mention the release of the retitled book and its new introduction.
According to his filing Friday, which was later released publicly with redactions, Stone had written and edited the new introduction in mid-January. The book had been shipped out to retailers in early February for a February 19 release date. The new introduction suggested Mueller was planning to “frame” Stone on “bogus” charges, and trafficked in all the anti-Deep State hysteria that had been Stone’s M.O. before the recent gag order.
The judge on Tuesday tweaked Stone’s lawyers for saying in their filing Friday that the book “release” was “imminent,” only to explain in a filing on Monday that the use of the “imminent” was a “misnomer.”
She reminded Stone that fact that the gag “order exists at all is entirely the fault of the defendant.”
“And any costs or consequences that will be occasioned by the Court’s reiteration of this clear requirement at this late date are also solely attributable to the defendant, since he deliberately waited until public sales were not only ‘imminent,’ but apparently, ongoing, to inform the Court of the publication effort that had been underway for weeks,” the judge said.
She ordered that by March 11, Stone respond to a number of follow-up inquiries she has about how the new introduction book came together and why she was not informed of it sooner. The status report also must detail “his efforts to come into compliance with the Court’s rulings,” the judge ordered, as well as any promotion he did since mid-January for the book’s re-release.
Stone has been charged with making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty.
Read the court filing below: